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The Plight of women caught in conflicts

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By host - KaburuA
Recent news stories and reports testify to a horrifying reality for women and girls caught in crisis situations. From rape to child marriage to sexual slavery, women and girls in conflict face severe threats and violations of their human rights that most of us cannot begin to imagine.
While it is good news that some of the women and girls abducted by Boko Haram were recently rescued, they face trauma, stigma and health concerns. As we provide services to them, we cannot forget countless others in many countries who face an ongoing nightmare of fear and violence. An estimated 4 million Syrian women and girls of childbearing age are in need of humanitarian assistance.
In times of crisis, all women worry about the future and whether they will even survive. Many women become heads of household with the sole responsibility of caring for their children. Pregnant women fear for their health and wonder if they will deliver safely. Women and girls who are raped are often confronted with blame and shame instead of the loving care and support they need. And these hardships are compounded for women who are pregnant as a result of rape.
The challenges are daunting. For one thing, more women than before are fleeing conflict, persecution and poverty. Many have suffered exploitation and trauma. As we see in the Mediterranean, they risk their lives, often paying ruthless smugglers, to cross seas and borders for a better future for themselves and their families. The world has not seen a migrant and refugee crisis like this since World War II.
At the same time, the number and the strength of natural disasters is rising, causing increased damage, insecurity and demands for international humanitarian support. The complex emergencies we are responding to include protracted conflicts, which are further exacerbated by poor or failed governance, the consequences of climate change, and the engagement of extremist groups claiming territory, resources and power.
In today’s crises, it is women and girls who are paying the highest price — as their bodies become battlefields in war zones, and they struggle in dangerous circumstances to maintain their dignity and the health and welfare of their families
As we work to strengthen our humanitarian response, I cannot help but reflect on the threats facing women and girls in different parts of the world. How can we step up our efforts, as humanitarian and rights-based organizations, as representatives of the international community, and as governments, so that together we can make a big difference to these women and girls whose rights we seek to protect and promote.
In particular, here are three steps the international community must take together to protect the health and rights of women and girls in crisis situations:

First, we must summon the resources needed to effectively and systematically prioritize and address gender-based violence in emergencies, and deliver services to protect sexual and reproductive health. This requires increased commitment and funding to advance women’s health, empowerment and gender equality, to protect vulnerable populations from gender-based violence, and to provide a full range of services to survivors, with appropriate responses for all those who are targeted.
Second, it is time to increase the number and readiness of experienced personnel, locally and globally, who can deliver sexual and reproductive health services and prevent and respond to gender-based violence. This requires personnel who are trained to meet the medical, psychosocial, legal, security, and livelihood needs of survivors of sexual violence in both conflict and disaster contexts. Innovation and partnership are needed to fully utilize new technologies for training and capacity-building, such as mobile phones and e-learning.
Third, we must strengthen accountability. In all countries affected by crisis and conflict, women and girls are demanding their rights to health and safety, and to full and equal participation to have a voice in shaping a better future. Protection and accountability to people affected by crisis must be backed by political will, corrective action and justice. #WomenProtection #EndConflicts #TalkPeace
We must work together to enable women to play their full role in peace talks, peace building and recovery, to ensure government compliance with international law, and to bring perpetrators of sexual violence to justice.
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